A retired police veteran of the Baltimore City Police and the Maryland State Police Departments says he would like to see justice for Eric Garner.
Retired police officer Major Neill Franklin took to publishing platform Medium, to write an Op-Ed he published on July 18.
Franklin, the executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), a nonprofit group of judges, prosecutors, police and other criminal justice professionals who utilize their experience to better public safety policies, opined in his article saying that the court waiting five years to announce its decision not to charge NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo for his role in Garner’s death took too long.
And that, he says, erodes public trust in the police.
It’s also the court’s job to move swiftly, which in this case, it clearly did not do. Five years is far too long to withhold answers and justice for a grieving family. We cannot expect people to trust a system that moves so slowly, especially when that agonizing wait is concluded with a disappointing result.
Every time we acquit an officer the public generally believes to be guilty of serious misconduct, we lose a little more of the public’s trust. When prosecutors decline to charge them, people see all of us in the same corrupt light.
Franklin also candidly wrote that not only did the decision to forgo charges against Pantaleo result in loss of public trust in the justice system, it also makes becoming a police officer more attracted to those who seek to be unaccountable in positions with virtually unrestricted power.
In addition to losing public trust in our justice system, this sort of decision makes becoming a police officer more attractive to those who seek unaccountable, unrestricted power — when police, as those who enforce the laws, are the ones who should be most dedicated to them.
The police officer for over three decades also says that without actual accountability, people are “left with fear and disdain for us” and that until officer begin to reckon with their past mistakes “feelings about us will continue to fuel anti-police violence.
“Please, for a moment, imagine an America in which police departments are transparent and officers are held accountable to their communities,” Franklin wrote.
“What does justice look like? How does it make you feel? What would America look like if no one except the most terrifying among us were afraid of the police?” he rhetorically ask readers.
“When I imagine this future, I see harmony. I see safer neighborhoods.”
Finally, he concludes, that kind of “country is possible” if only we demand more from our elected officials, and especially prosecutors.
Read Franklin’s Op-Ed in full here.